Live from the Top of the World
When Tenzig Norgay and Ed Hillary first topped out on Everest in 1953, it took five days for the news to reach the outside world. Today, with 3G cell phone coverage on the mountain and satellite network technology, expedition updates are published to the web almost instantly.
There are currently 28 expeditions on the mountain (two have quit due to unusually dangerous conditions), pushing for the summit in time for the spring monsoons to open up a week-or-more-long window of low winds and little precipitation on the mountain. Here’s where to go for frequent, and sometimes real-time, updates on their progress:
Arnette’s site has, by far, the most comprehensive overview coverage of what’s happening on Everest. He reports the current whereabouts of climbing teams on both the North and South sides of the mountain, keeps readers abreast of summit plans, and interviews individual climbers. Also, he maintains a nice listing of Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and blogs where you can follow the action.
The Nat Geo expedition is probably the best covered, with its own frequently updated website, Twitter feed and iPad app. The team plans to repeat the historic 1963 National Geographic-sponsored American Mount Everest Expedition, in which Willi Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein climbed the West Ridge and descended the Southeast Ridge, marking the first-ever traverse of a Himalayan mountain). To recreate it, Conrad Anker and Cory Richards were attempting the dangerous West Ridge route alpine-style, while a second team made up of The North Face climbers and NG writer Mark Jenkins planned to meet them by summiting from the classic Southeast Ridge route. (Richards has left the expedition, and Simone Moro or Ueli Steck are both rumored to be replacing him).
Outside sent Senior Editor Grayson Schaffer to Base Camp, where he files daily dispatches online. His reports include the latest news from the mountain, excellent profiles of climbers and (often more colorful) their support crew. Beyond all the words, Schaffer is a talented photographer and pretty handy with a video camera.
Plenty of people are tweeting from the top of the world. Here are a few handles worth following: @markhorrell, @mattdthornton, @timrippel, @Ian8850, @benegasbrothers, @KentonCool, @Andy_Bardon, @AtteMiettinen, @bookofsamuel, @emilyaharringto, @2012everest, @AdvConsultants, @eightsummits, @molliejhughes, and hashtag #OnEverest